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24 Apr 2018

Marco Simons, Earth Rights International (USA)

The Supreme Court Just Gave Unscrupulous American Corporations Another Reason to Expatriate

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The Supreme Court ruled this morning that foreign corporations cannot be sued in U.S. courts under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute (ATS). The ATS only allows suits for the worst violations of international law – like genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity. So, as the four dissenting justices stated, the Court’s decision “absolves corporations from responsibility under the ATS for conscience-shocking behavior.”

The case, Jesner v. Arab Bank, was brought by victims of terrorism against a Jordanian bank which was found to have abetted suicide bombings in the Middle East. They brought suit in New York because Arab Bank used its New York branch to route these transactions. A jury found Arab Bank liable...At some point, Congress needs to step in. Why on earth would we want to give foreign corporations special privileges to violate the law without consequence – and give U.S. corporations additional incentives to expatriate?

Part of the following timelines

US Supreme Court rules that foreign corporations cannot be sued for human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Statute

Arab Bank lawsuit (re terrorist attacks in Israel)